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HearthstoneApr 3, 2020 2:00 pm CT

How to beat Cenarius in Hearthstone’s Ashes of Outland Prologue

So you’ve decided to try the Ashes of Outland prologue that was just released for Hearthstone. It’s free, after all! And you’ll unlock the Demon Hunter class, Illidan as a hero, and get a bunch of free Demon Hunter cards! The game will even build your very first Demon Hunter deck just for you! What’s not to love?

Azzinoth? Easy. Xavius? A chump! Mannoroth? Pfft, wake me up when a real demon comes up. This is all so simple!

…until you meet Cenarius.

Cenarius can be a roadblock, even for experienced players. He’s just harder than the first three bosses, and Illidan’s deck may not seem very well equipped to deal with his constant barrage of taunt minions — at first. This guide is aimed at teaching you how to deal with that stupid weird tree-deer-man, lest he turns you into compost!

Here’s how to defeat Cenarius in the Ashes of Outland prologue.

Managing the mulligan and early game

This is a general (and somewhat obvious) tip, but it bears repeating: mulligan for low cost cards. If something costs four mana or more, no matter how good it seems, you don’t want it in your opening hand. There are exceptions to that rule, of course, but they don’t apply to this particular fight.

These are great cards to mulligan for (or at least hope for):

  • Umberwing is a great card to keep. You’ll equip it and attack the first Taunt minion that Cenarius puts down, while creating a little board presence for you since you’ll summon two 1/1 Felwings. On turn two, when Cenarius should usually have two 2/2 Treants with Taunt: you’ll want to use your hero power and kill one of them with your face, pick on the other taunt with one of your minions, and boom, the board is yours. (For now.)
  • Early game is also a great time to draw cards, if you can. If you were offered Spectral Sight for your opening hand, I’m sure you’ve kept it. And if it was on the left-most or right-most position of your hand, even better, because it will trigger the Outcast keyword: besides drawing a card, you’ll get a bonus of another card!
  • Satyr Overseer is great. Make sure to summon him and keep him protected. Once he’s down, attack whenever you can to keep summoning 2/2 Satyrs. Remember: you can use your hero power to attack even if you don’t have any weapons equipped, and it only costs one mana. A very strong play is to put this guy down on turn four, use your hero power, and immediately attack, summoning a Satyr on the same turn.

Also save your resources! That’s crucial on this fight, because you need to make the most of every card you have. Don’t use cards like Chaos Strike just for the card draw without killing a minion. You’ll want to be thrifty for now and save cards for when you really, really need them.

Keep control through the mid-game

What you’ll do here depends on what cards you have in hand. Here are our strategies:

  • Control the board (and Cenarius) as best you can.
    • Play Portal Keeper and Portal Overfiend as soon as you can, if you can afford to. Abuse the minions with Rush that are soon to follow!
    • Trade smart with Immolation Aura. Kill off your minions first, then cast it. Don’t waste it — or any other AOE card, like Blade Dance, for that matter — unless you can destroy at least two enemy minions.
    • Cenarius likes to buff his minions. Illidan likes to Consume Magic. It’s a match made in… Kalimdor, probably. If you can save this card to deal with something like an Ancient of War, you’re probably doing good.
  • Make the most of your weapons.
    • Don’t feel tempted to face-tank everything with your Warglaives of Azzinoth. I’m sure Illidan teaches his apprentices in Demon Hunter School that you should not rush headfirst into battles you cannot win. You want to attack multiple times on a single turn if you can, sure, but ideally you don’t want to take too much damage while doing it.
    • Flamereaper is amazing. Use it to kill off a high attack minion without attacking it directly, by attacking its neighbor!
    • Don’t be afraid to replace a weapon that has one or two charges left in order to equip a better weapon that will allow you to do more with it immediately. There are plenty of weapons on Illidan’s deck. You’ll get more.
  • Take down big minions without murdering yourself (preferably).
    • When you get Metamorphosis, use it to kill off a minion that has about five health, like Jarod Shadowsong or Ancient of Lore. Protip: you can use both of your hero powers on the same turn! You can use your regular hero power, then cast Metamorphosis, and then use the Metamorphosis hero power. Or, on its second charge, you can use the Metamorphosis hero power, and then your regular hero power. Tempo is great! (This should be the Hearthstone mantra, really.)
    • If you managed to nab yourself an Inner Demon at some point, save it. It’s an invaluable tool to deal with big minions, especially if they have Taunt, but try to use your other tools to take down enemies. Save this card for when you really need it: it can be invaluable regen when paired with a lifesteal weapon or a good game-closer.

Finishing off Cenarius

The secret to this fight is to outlast Cenarius. Make him run out of cards (and options), while keeping the board yours, your hand full, and your health as high as possible.

Most importantly, you don’t want to lose the board. If you have nothing on the board but your opponent does, focus on placing down minions to fight. This is a good call in general, but it’s especially good against the AI, since it loves to trade against your minions. If you have board presence, the AI tends to try to remove it. As in the mid-game, it’s important to get minions down — particularly that Portal Keeper and Portal Overfiend — and maintain board presence while making smart trades to keep Cenarius from overwhelming you.

Don’t worry too much about reducing Cenarius’s health at first: worry about clearing his minions and making sure that your minions stick as much as you can. But Illidan relies heavily on weapons and Hero attacks, so his health is sure to suffer, and Lifesteal is a great help for that. Save your Aldrachi Warblades for when you need the health, and combine them with attack buffs (like Inner Demon) to maximize your regen.

Drawing cards is good, getting more resources is great, but there’s a time for everything. When your board position is already stronger than your opponent’s — and it doesn’t look like they’re going to turn the tables on you on the next turn — then you focus on filling your hand. Draw, draw, draw. You’ll need those resources.

Eventually, Cenarius will run out of gas. That’s when you move in for the kill by busting out your biggest weapon attacks.

And with that, victory is yours. Congrats on braving this fight and unlocking the Demon Hunter class! You are your scars!

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